Thursday, 3 March 2016

What's happening in the AR Market?

Over the last 12-18 months you may have heard and read an awful lot about VR (Virtual Reality), especially since Facebook bought Oculus Rift for $2billion. 

Many of the world's biggest tech hardware & software companies are developing alternatives with VR Headsets ranging from a few thousand dollars right down to google cardboard.

The headline have been dominated by VR. What it can do? How it's developed over the last year or so and how it will change certain sectors / markets / industries.

However with skignz being an AR (Augmented Reality) company we have been taking a keen interest in our own market. If 2014/15 was all about VR, then 2016 onwards will be dominated by AR.

Yesterday blippar announced a further $54 million investment (Series D Raise) on top of the $45 million (Series C Raise) they raised exactly 12 months ago, making them one of the world's biggest and dominant forces in the AR market.

The blippar announcement comes on the heels of Google's investment of $568m into Magic Leap, Microsoft's Hololens & Apple's acquisition of Metaio. Also last year Blippar acquired Layar (Main Competitor), leaving Wikitude, Aurasma and skignz as the main AR platforms.

The acquisitions, investment etc... not only show the confidence in the potential of AR (blippar pre money valuation of £1.5 billion in Aug 2015), the relevance it has to a wider market than VR provides. Most of all it is showing ways that AR can be useful, rather than just an advertising platform (gimmick or campaign based activity), games platform or simulator.

We have been asked a lot in the last 24 hours... How does Blippar's investment effect skignz? We only think it's a very positive one! Especially as the skignz technology platform is complementary to Blippar's 'image recognition' based offering.

Blippar's latest investment (in our very modest opinion) is fantastic, not just becuase they are a UK AR company, but becuase they are pushing the boundaries of what is possible and moving towards a more Visual Search, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning platform. 

Across the AR market offering the majority is focussed on Image recognition and holographic based AR technology. Other than Magic Leap (Google) who have not announced exactly what they are doing, the skignz technology is based on a different method/approach of AR technology.

skignz (like blippar) works through a Free APP on the billions of smartphone or mobile devices across the planet. However skignz aims to provide hyperlocal relevant information, when and where you require it, anywhere on the planet, without have to point your device at something... You just pan around to find what you are looking for... and if you don't see anything, then you have the ability to place your own content!

If Google, Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg Quoting skignz strapline a few months ago), Microsoft and even Apple (although at present it's rumoured to focus AR on its driverless cars) along with VC's and other global tech companies like Qualcomm etc... are focussing billions and billions of investment dollars, surely there is something about AR that's extremely attractive?

With Digi-Capital predicting that AR spend will hit $150 Billion by 2020 compared against VR spend of $30 Billion, you will certainly be hearing more about the investment and growth of Augmented Reality.

Here are some articles over the last 12 months that we have come across you may find interesting on Augmented Reality:

Blippar's latest investment & turning down £1.5bn acquisition offer last year...

Expensive Hardware for AR (Oculus Rift Style Headset)...

AR spend set to hit $150 Billion by 2020...

blippar CEO on being bigger than Google & connect to IOT...

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

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